Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Your Average Trip to the $ Store

Saturday I went to the dollar store to pick up some mini glue sticks for my glue gun. I’m decorating two trees this year for the Festival of Trees. One tree I’m decorating with two of my friends, and the other I’ll be decorating with my family.

Miss M and Ms. D accompanied me on my trip Saturday. M was feeling better after just a few doses of antibiotic. D tends to cry if I’m more than a few feet from her. I think D can tell that the milk is not in reach. K man wanted to come along too, but was convinced by his dad that it would be way more exciting to stay home with him.

So the girls and I tooled around the dollar store, picking up our glue sticks, a few bubble mailers and some other things. We ended up with 11 items and I figured I would pay cash.

The store was busier than it usually is when I’m there. Of course I’m usually there at 9 a.m. on a weekday morning. So there were people standing in line waiting to check out.

When we reached the cashier, M and I loaded our selections on to the conveyor belt. The cashier rang up our items and told me the total: $11.24. I looked at my cash and discovered I only carried seven dollars. Clearly not enough to pay the bill unless I wanted to go purse-diving for change. I totally could have paid cash in the change at the bottom of my purse but there was a line so I didn’t want to dig too deeply.

So I pulled out my debit card. The cashier swiped it and a moment later declared it declined. Wha? I had just looked at our accounts online the night before and we clearly had much more than $12 in our account. I figured it was a fluke and ran the same card again with the same response. So then I got out my other debit card. It’s for my individual account that I have really for no other reason than that it is the main account that our joint account was opened on. Yeah, I know, clear as mud. Anywho. That card was declined as well.

I felt my heart begin to race.

Well there must be something wrong with your computer! I sputtered, embarrassed. Like I said, there was a long line of people waiting to check out in three lanes, which is quite a lot in the dollar store. I finally pulled out my credit card, which was by then the FOURTH card I had swiped.

The transaction went through immediately. I gathered my girls and my measly bag of purchases and headed out the door without looking at the people left in line.

I imagined them shaking their collective heads at the clearly destitute mother of two who couldn’t pay for her less-than-twelve-dollar purchase at the dollar store.

I tried to call Craig who was at home mulching up the 799,639 leaves in our yard. As the phone was ringing my mind drifted back to a day at least 2 weeks ago when I got the mail and noted my new debit cards.
Saturday was November 1st and my debit cards expired at the end of October 2008.

My first thought after I realized my stupidity was: if I felt that degraded, that horrible, when I KNEW I had the money in my account, how must people feel who DON’T have the money in their accounts?

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bethiclaus said...

I always find it completely mortifying when my cards won't go through. And yet, I continue to attempt to use my husband's card that has clearly seen better days (he refuses to empty his pockets before he disrobes and I refuse to check them before doing the laundry on principle), so I guess I deserve it on those occasions.

chelle said...

OH MY! YES! I so so hate it when the cards do not work. I am always mortified (not that it happens that often but still) POOR YOU!

I always feel uneasy behind someone who has to explain it away too though ... not that I judge more uneasiness ... weird.

ewe are here said...

Always mortifying when our cards inexplicably won't work.

for a different kind of girl said...

I've done the same thing, only I've never realized as quickly as you did the reason for the problem, so I panic for a long time until my husband points out the obvious.

Wendy said...

There have been a couple of times that my card was declined and I realized, "oops. Uh. I forgot to make that deposit."

But recently, the convenience store I favor declines my card every freaking time. The last time I was only getting a pack of cigarettes. Less than $4! Most of the cashiers can cover the strip with a plastic bag and somehow make it work, but one lady refuses to believe it's the computer and won't even try. Of course, I learned this when the store was filled and the line was long. And the cashier was loud as she exclamed over and over, "It's not us, it's your card!" I haven't been back to that store.

louann said...

Panic just suddenly surges through me when that happens.

Damselfly said...

Ack! I have done this very same thing!

If only all those leaves were dollar bills, eh?

 
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